New tapings: Willie Nelson and August Greene

photo by David McClister

Austin City Limits is proud to announce the final two tapings of Season 44 – one with an old friend and the other featuring some new ones. On November 19, we welcome back an American music icon: Willie Nelson, who anchored the pilot episode of ACL back in 1975, returns for his eighteenth appearance on the program and his first headlining appearance in almost a decade. We’re also thrilled to report that this highly-anticipated homecoming will be live streamed worldwide direct from the ACL stage. On November 26, we open the stage for the first time to supergroup August Greene, the collective of rap superstar Common, jazz keyboardist/producer Robert Glasper and drummer/producer Karriem Riggins.

With a seven-decade career and two hundred-plus albums, Willie Nelson needs no introduction. A bronze statue of Nelson at the entrance to ACL’s studio home on the Austin street that bears his name, honors the Texas native.  He spearheaded the Outlaw country movement in the 1970s, and has since become a musical and cultural treasure whose artistic vision has held steady for over half a century. Inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2014, the Red Headed Stranger has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist.  With a staggering legacy of classic songs and enduring influence, the 85-year-old continues to tour regularly throughout North America. In recent years, he has delivered more than then twelve new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestseller, again headlined Farm Aid (an event he co-founded in 1985), received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival during SXSW at his ranch in Luck, TX, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone. In 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to music – the first country artist ever to receive the distinguished award. 2016 brought the releases of the Grammy-winning Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, which debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, and For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, an album of newly recorded interpretations.  Nelson also released Pretty Paper, a novel inspired by his classic holiday song of the same title. In 2017, he released God’s Problem Child, an album with thirteen new songs that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200. Nelson continues his restless streak in 2018 releasing two LPs: the all-originals Last Man Standing and My Way, a collection of songs associated with Frank Sinatra. Nelson released a new single, “Vote ‘Em Out,” this October urging citizens across the country to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.  We are honored to welcome Willie Nelson back to “the house that Willie built” to carve his name in the ACL stage once again.

photo by B+

In early 2016, musicians and friends Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins found themselves in the studio, crafting the soulful backdrop of Common’s eleventh album Black America Again.  “It was such a real form of expression,” says Common. “It felt natural. We all have an affinity for great music.” As the trio created, they began to notice something different taking shape—something rooted in the warm R&B sounds of yesteryear but still very much in the present. It was soul music with a modern bounce, a jazz-rap hybrid in the spirit of A Tribe Called Quest. It fully encapsulated the black experience: the serenity and pain through which we channel gorgeous art, the beauty and struggle of simply trying to exist. Equally peaceful and profound, the music they captured laid the foundation for August Greene. The artists come to this project having reached major respective milestones over the years. Since 1992, the Chicago-born, Grammy-, Emmy- and Oscar-winning Common has uplifted listeners with his emotive blend of hip-hop and soul, releasing some of the genre’s greatest work. The four-time Grammy-winning Glasper, a Houston-born pianist/producer known for his esoteric mix of jazz, rock and soul, has long created music that defies expectation. Riggins, a Detroit native, is a world renowned percussionist and producer whose work can be heard on many modern recordings, including the Emmy-winning “Letter to the Free,” his collaboration with Common and Glasper for Selma director Ava Duvernay’s acclaimed documentary 13th. Featuring the singles “Black Kennedy” and “Optimistic,” which guest-stars R&B great Brandy, August Greene culminates years of mutual respect and friendship, channeling the musicians’ various talents into a cohesive project. The perfect marriage of jazz, hip-hop and soul, it’s music that just is, speaking to those pushing through the dark for brighter days, and a masterpiece from which virtue can shine.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS in early 2019 as part of our Season 44.

New tapings: Khalid, Residente, Janelle Monae, The Arctic Monkeys

photo by Kacie Tomita

Austin City Limits is beyond excited to announce a stellar slate of tapings featuring artists performing at our namesake Austin City Limits Music Festival this October. Please welcome for the first time: rising star Khalid on Oct. 3, Latin superstar rapper Residente on Oct. 7, boundary-smashing soul auteur Janelle Monáe on Oct. 8 and British modern rock icons Arctic Monkeys on Oct. 13.

Five-time Grammy® nominated artist Khalid has seen great success since he released his first single “Location” right before his high school graduation. The song’s domination led to Khalid’s major label deal with Right Hand Music Group/RCA Records followed by the release of his debut album American Teen. The album received mass critical acclaim with Rolling Stone calling Khalid a “pop prodigy” and TIME Magazine stating, ““His thoughtful, relatable reflections on modern youth culture and the limitations of love are just as pitch-perfect as his soulful, measured delivery.” American Teen shattered expectations, as it stayed in the Top 200 for 51 weeks, peaked at #4, and stayed in the Top 20 for 48 out of the 51 weeks it was in the Top 200. The singer-songwriter has over one billion streams worldwide across all partners, his first single “Location” is certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA, his previous single “Young Dumb & Broke” is certified 3X Platinum, and his album is now certified 2x Platinum. Since the album’s debut, Khalid has garnered five 2018 Grammy® nominations including Best New Artist and landed on the cover of Billboard’s 2018 Grammy® Preview issue. He recently won two 2018 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Artist and Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song for “Love Lies” with Normani. He was also nominated for a 2017 BET Award for Best New Artist, a 2017 Teen Choice Award for Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song for “Location”, and a 2017 American Music Award for Favorite Song-Soul/R&B for “Location.” Khalid also won Top New Artist at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, Best New Artist at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards and an MTV’s Woodie To Watch Award. In addition to American Teen, Khalid has collaborated with some of music’s biggest stars. He has been featured on a number of songs including mega hits like Calvin Harris’s “Rollin” with Future, “1-800-273-8255” with Logic and Alessia Cara, “Silence” with Marshmello, “Lovely” with Billie Eilish, “Youth” with Shawn Mendes, and many more. Khalid’s current singles “Love Lies”, a duet with Normani, and “OTW” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 6lack are burning up the airwaves. Khalid recently wrapped up his third sold-out North American headlining tour.

Born René Pérez Joglar, Residente is a Puerto Rican rapper, writer, producer and co-founder of the trailblazing alternative rap group Calle 13. He has won a record-breaking 28 Grammy® Awards (four Grammys® and 24 Latin Grammys®). Residente studied fine art for eight years before launching an independent career as a lyricist, performer and director of many of his own music videos. He was inspired to create his self-titled 2017 debut solo album after a DNA test showed that he had roots all over the world. Thus galvanized, he traveled the globe, visiting the different countries where his roots could be found and recording with local musicians in Siberia, Moscow, China, Ghana, Burkina Faso, France, and many more. The resulting album includes guest performances from Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda (Residente’s distant cousin), Tuareg world music star Bombino, French pop singer SoKo, At the Drive-In/Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-López and members of the Peking Opera. Rolling Stone notes “Each song is its own new genre, sourced from regional sounds and specially tailored to reflect the diversity of his DNA,” while Remezcla remarks that “at the heart is Residente’s belief that knowledge of our fellow global citizens is power.” Billboard simply describes the album as “exciting, thought-provoking, touching and shocking.”  Residente has been recognized for his commitment to social justice, championing educational and native rights across Latin America. The superstar received the prestigious Nobel Peace Summit Award in 2015 for his efforts to promote social awareness and peace. He has also served as the spokesperson for UNICEF and Amnesty International campaigns, and in 2018 was awarded the BMI Champion Award for his musical career and humanitarian work – the first Latin American artist to receive this recognition.  

photo by JUCO

Janelle Monáe is a Grammy® nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer, activist and actress. She recently released her critically-acclaimed third solo album Dirty Computer and the accompanying film Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture by Janelle Monáe, earning widespread praise for her cinematic range and vision.  The L.A. Times calls the record “a warm and vibrant tribute to the marginalized people, especially women and those with fluid ideas about gender and sexuality, whom Monáe sees as the true embodiment of America’s promise.” Q describes it as “fierce, honest and a challenge to the forces of obsolescence,” while The A.V. Club simply says “she’s outdone herself in both the execution of this vision and its resonance.” Rolling Stone put it more bluntly: “It’s a sexy MF-ing masterpiece.” The UK’s Guardian hailed her current world tour as “euphoric funk at the edge of megastardom.”  Immersed in the performing arts at a young age, the Kansas City native founded her own record label, Wondaland Arts Society, releasing the 2008 EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Monáe went on to release 2010’s acclaimed The ArchAndroid and 2013’s The Electric Lady. Additionally, she took her talents to the silver screen, starring in the 2017 Academy Awards Best Picture Moonlight and the Oscar-nominated hit Hidden Figures. Monáe is set to star in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen for release in winter 2018.  The visionary artist launched Fem the Future in 2016, an initiative to create more opportunities to advance the awareness, inclusion and opportunities for women and those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education.

photo by Zachary Michael

One of music’s biggest live acts, Arctic Monkeys make their ACL debut in the midst of a sold-out world tour and a headlining spot on ACL Fest. After springing to international attention in 2006 when their first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not became the fastest selling debut LP in British chart history, Arctic Monkeys have released a string of critically acclaimed albums. The band’s sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, follows the Sheffield, U.K. quartet’s most commercially successful LP to date, 2013’s A.M., which reached #1 on charts in a dozen countries, achieved platinum status in the U.S. and has sold approximately five million copies worldwide. Tranquility Base is a bold and brilliant album reflecting singer/songwriter/bandleader Alex Turner’s ever more comprehensive creative vision. The core ideas for Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino took root in L.A. in the early months of 2017, as Turner began recording demos in his modest home studio. Though he’d rarely written on anything other than guitar, piano-led songs began pouring out of him. After Turner tracked as much as he could at home on his Tascam, Arctic Monkeys reconvened at France’s storied La Frette studio, a converted 19th-century mansion, to spend five weeks recording with their longtime producer James Ford. “There’s a definite vibe about that place,” says guitarist Jamie Cook. “We were really home there…I would probably say it was the best recording session we’ve ever done.” The result is the most unusual record in the band’s six-record repertoire. Q calls it “a strange, wonderful album,” while Spin notes that “the more you give in to these vibes, the more the vibes give back.” “The first listen may be surprising,” says PopMatters, “but repeated listens illuminate that Arctic Monkeys remain progressive and energetic even when style and mood shift dramatically.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Norah Jones, Boz Scaggs, Gary Clark Jr. and more to perform on ACL Hall of Fame 2018

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Austin City Limits announces a star-studded slate of guest performers and presenters for the 2018 ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 25, 2018. Music greats Norah Jones, Boz Scaggs, Gary Clark Jr., Ruthie Foster, Robert Randolph, Lou Ann Barton, Shelley King, Carolyn Wonderland, Adrian Quesada and additionally, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, have been added to this year’s line-up of luminaries celebrating the fifth anniversary class of inductees. These special guests, along with returning host Chris Isaak and previously announced acts Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson, join in an evening filled with unique performances and heartfelt tributes as three American originals enter the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: the legendary Ray Charles, blues stalwart Marcia Ball and pioneering rockers Los Lobos. Get your tickets now to this one-of-a-kind event. 

Ray Charles by Scott Newton

All-star guests will handle induction honors for the epic night: Robert Rodriguez will be on hand to induct Los Lobos, with Boz Scaggs and Robert Randolph performing in tribute. Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr. and Ruthie Foster will salute Ray Charles, and John Burk, President of Concord Label Group and producer of Ray Charles’ final studio album, will induct the late icon. New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas will induct Marcia Ball and lead a one-of-a-kind tribute featuring an all-female line-up of blues all-stars: Tracy Nelson, Lou Ann Barton, Shelley King and Carolyn Wonderland. Inductees Los Lobos and Marcia Ball will also perform at the ceremony. ACL Hall of Famer Lloyd Maines returns as music director, leading an ace house band.

The ceremony will be held at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will air in a special New Year’s Eve broadcast of Austin City Limits as part of the program’s Season 44 which premieres October 6, 2018 on PBS.

The event is open to the public and tickets are currently on sale here. Sponsor packages are available at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.

The fifth class of inductees features a diverse group of music legends with longtime ties to Austin City Limits: The one and only Ray Charles, who died in 2004, made two classic appearances on ACL starting in Season 5 in 1980 and again in 1984, playing an instrumental role in validating the nascent show’s reputation as a live music beacon. Los Lobos’ musical kinship with ACL includes six appearances on the series, debuting in Season 14 in 1989, and returning to celebrate their milestone forty years as a band during ACL’s own 40th anniversary season in 2014. Celebrated blues pianist and vocalist Marcia Ball debuted on the program’s first season in 1976, making four more standout appearances in 1979, 1990, 1998 and 2006.

Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame honors the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. The second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony in 2015 honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson. Last year’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

The 5th Anniversary Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions and Celebration is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by American Airlines, AXS, Brown Distributing, Cirrus Logic, Cousins Properties Incorporated, Dell, Keller Williams, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly.  

New tapings: Buddy Guy and Trombone Shorty

photo by Paul Natkin

Austin City Limits welcomes back a pair of singular artists with their own spins on traditional American musical forms: legendary blues guitarist/singer Buddy Guy on September 17, making his fifth appearance on the ACL stage, and soul/funk singer/horn player Trombone Shorty on September 26, making his third.

Buddy Guy’s astounding career spans over fifty years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Grammy Awards, 37 Blues Music Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to name a few. The blues titan recently released his eighteenth solo LP, The Blues is Alive and Well, the acclaimed follow-up to his 2015 album Born To Play Guitar, which received “Best Blues Album” honors at the 2016 Grammy Awards, and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Album charts.  Produced by Guy’s longtime partner Tom Hambridge and featuring special guests Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and James Bay, the new album is hailed “a heart-warming set from a cultural treasure” by Mojo. Rolling Stone raves, “Buddy Guy proves blues is alive and well,” while Uncut notes, “[Guy] stretches out into these songs, inhabiting them comfortably and casually, almost always finding a way to make the familiar sound fresh.” Guy will be the recipient of this year’s Americana Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Honor, and at 82 years young, proves unstoppable as he continues to record and tour around the world.

photo by Mathieu Bitton

Part Jimi Hendrix, part James Brown and all New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is the bandleader and frontman of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, a hard-edged funk band that employs brass-band beats, rock dynamics and improvisation in a jazz tradition. NPR hailed him as “New Orleans’ brightest new star in a generation,” and New York Magazine wrote that “Trombone Shorty takes in a century-plus worth of sounds—ragtime and jazz and gospel and soul and R&B and hip-hop—and attacks everything he plays with festive fervor.” His 2017 Blue Note Records debut Parking Lot Symphony contains multitudes of sound—from brass band blare and deep-groove funk to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger—and plenty of emotion all anchored by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Shorty says, “Music brings unity.” OffBeat wrote that “Parking Lot Symphony continues Trombone Shorty’s personal tradition of stunningly good musicianship, crowd-pleasing good material and just plain good fun,” adding that “Andrews keeps the music close to his heart and his hometown.” To celebrate that hometown’s 300th birthday, its rich cultural heritage, and the bright future of its music, Trombone Shorty, Orleans Avenue and handpicked special guests are touring the nation as Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown. “New Orleans is the best place in the world,” says Shorty. “With this show, my friends and I want to spotlight New Orleans, bring joy and fun and partying to the nation, because that’s what New Orleans creates. That’s what our music is about.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

New taping: Alessia Cara

photo by superduperbrick

Austin City Limits welcomes the 2018 Grammy Award-winner for Best New Artist: acclaimed singer/songwriter Alessia Cara, who will hit the stage in her debut taping on August 2, showcasing songs from her highly-anticipated new album alongside chart-topping career highlights.

Following a groundbreaking run of six global platinum hits, the 21-year old Canadian recently released “Growing Pains,” the debut single from her forthcoming sophomore album, out later this year.  The entire LP was written solely by Cara and features two songs self-produced by the Grammy Award winning artist. “I really thought it’d be cool to have a nice challenge to see if I can write something, like a whole project, on my own,” she tells Rolling Stone.  “It’s something that I wanted to see if I could do.”  

Cara catapulted onto the charts in late 2015 with her spellbinding, multi-platinum smash “Here,” from her breakout platinum debut album KNOW-IT-ALL, which also spawned the chart-topping global hit “Scars To Your Beautiful.” For Alessia’s legions of die-hard fans, “Growing Pains” is the long-awaited follow-up to the 4x-platinum “1-800-273-8255,” her hit collab­o­­­ration with fellow Def Jam artist Logic, one of 2017’s landmark singles with over 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Along with “Stay”—her Grammy-nominated double-platinum #1 pop collaboration with Zedd—and a parade of hits, Alessia has generated over 7 billion global streams to date, becoming the most-streamed new female artist of 2017.

Known for stripped down, powerful live shows, Cara closed out this year’s Grammy broadcast joined by collaborators Logic and Khalid, in a show-stopping, emotional performance of  the Grammy-nominated anti suicide song “1-800-273-8255”. Still at the beginning of what promises to be a remarkable career, we’re thrilled to showcase this stunning new artist on the ACL stage.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

New taping: Miguel

photo by Timothy Saccenti

We here at Austin City Limits are excited to welcome one of the fastest-rising and most adventurous voices in R&B to our stage: Miguel. The singer, songwriter and creator of the acclaimed LP War & Leisure tapes his ACL debut on July 8.

Over the last decade, Miguel has established himself as one of R&B’s most sonic fabulists, a consummate artist unafraid to follow his impulses wherever they lead him. The Los Angeles native’s mix of funk, rock, hip-hop and electronica has garnered him frequent comparisons to Prince and Babyface. Miguel’s fourth studio full-length, War & Leisure, is his most ambitious and stunning project yet, a perfect blend of forward-thinking production and melodic delights that more than embody the duality hinted at in the album’s title. Miguel conceived these twelve pop gems as perfectly blending the skyward pop of 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dream (which netted him a Best R&B Song Grammy win in 2013 for its astounding single “Adorn”) and the restless, moody vibes of 2015’s Wildheart—reflecting the true Miguel experience for both listeners and the album’s creator. “On every project, I’m trying to paint a picture for my future self to go back, listen, and remember my experiences and how I was perceiving the world through music,” he states on the mercurial meeting point that War & Leisure reaches. “Kaleidoscope Dream and Wildheart are two sides of the same coin, and this is me taking those sounds and applying all the energy I’m feeling most from those two contrasts.” This is Miguel fusing the two halves of his creative id—the restless experimentalist and the crowd-pleasing hitmaker that millions of fans adore—to reach a new peak in artistic achievement.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS later this year as part of our Season 44.

New tapings: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Sam Smith

photo by Myriam Santos

Austin City Limits has a pair of highlights coming up this summer: new tapings featuring roots rocker Lukas Nelson in his ACL debut on July 2 and the second appearance of international pop superstar Sam Smith on July 23.

After more than a decade on the road barnstorming across the U.S and around the world, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have developed into one of America’s most dazzling live acts, attracting a dedicated, ever expanding following.  Still, with a bounty of invaluable experience under their belts, nothing foretold the artistic leap of their latest album, the self-titled Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding slice of cosmic country soul.  Released via Fantasy Records last summer, the widely acclaimed album draws on many of Lukas’ country and rock influences including literate Texas songsmiths like his dad, Willie Nelson, ‘uncles’ Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, and iconoclasts such as J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie and of course, the band’s mentor Neil Young, for whom the young devotees have toured and recorded with the past few years. 

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real features Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) and Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) along with back-up vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius, and Lady Gaga who added stirring vocals to two of the album’s 12 tracks.  The album’s lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, “Just Outside of Austin” also features a classic Willie Nelson guitar solo, and piano from Lukas’ 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi. “Their latest displays a newfound confidence, brokering country-soul, Southern rock and R&B with some panache,” proclaimed Uncut.  “The band’s best work, the record is a huge leap forward for Nelson,” raved Entertainment Weekly, and American Songwriter declared, “Ultimately, Lukas is carrying on Willie’s tradition, pushing the outlaw boundaries his famous father established in the ’70s and proving that the musical apple truly does not fall far from the tree.”  Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real were recently honored with a 2018 Americana Music Awards nomination for Group of the Year.

Multi-platinum GRAMMY ® award winning artist Sam Smith wowed ACL audiences with his 2014 debut during our milestone Season 40 and now, he returns with his chart topping, acclaimed sophomore album The Thrill Of It All.  Rolling Stone awarded it four stars and hailed Smith as “one of the mightiest, most expressive singers of his generation.”  The album includes the hits “Pray” and “Too Good At Goodbyes,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart and is certified Platinum by the RIAA.  The British native’s breakout 2014 album, In The Lonely Hour was the biggest selling U.K. male debut in the SoundScan era and went on to sell 13 million albums worldwide. In 2015, Smith set a GRAMMY® record, winning a total of four awards – the most ever received by a U.K. artist following the release of a debut album. He was named Best New Artist, In The Lonely Hour took Best Pop Vocal Album honors and his single “Stay With Me” won awards for both Record and Song of the Year. Smith has also earned an Oscar, a Golden Globe, three Billboard Music Awards and three BRIT Awards.  He’s currently on his global headline The Thrill Of It All world tour.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS this fall as part of our Season 44.

Austin City Limits announces 2018 Hall of Fame honorees

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Update: Tickets on sale now!

Austin City Limits announces the fifth anniversary class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees, recognizing three American originals: blues stalwart Marcia Ball, the legendary Ray Charles and pioneering rockers Los Lobos. The 2018 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be saluted at a star-studded ceremony to be held October 25th, 2018 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Music great Chris Isaak is back by popular demand to host the celebratory evening, which will feature an all-star line-up of guest performers including rock superstar Dan Auerbach, New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas and powerhouse vocalist Tracy Nelson. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will air in a special New Year’s Eve broadcast of Austin City Limits as part of the program’s Season 44 which premieres in the fall on PBS.   

The event will be open to the public and tickets are on sale May 18th at 10am CT at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. Sponsor packages are available now at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.

The fifth class of inductees features a diverse group of music legends with longtime ties to Austin City Limits: celebrated blues pianist and vocalist Marcia Ball debuted on the program’s first season in 1976, making three more standout appearances in 1979, 1990 and 1998. The one and only Ray Charles made two classic appearances on ACL starting in Season 5 in 1980 and again in 1984, playing an instrumental role in validating the nascent show’s reputation as a live music beacon. Los Lobos’ musical kinship with ACL includes six appearances on the series, debuting in Season 14 in 1989, and returning to celebrate their milestone forty years as a band during ACL’s own 40th anniversary season in 2014.

The honorees and their legacies shared their reactions to joining the ranks of outstanding artists who have been inducted into the Austin City Limits  Hall of Fame:

Marcia Ball: “Austin City Limits put Austin on the map all over the country. Whenever we are touring, when I say where we are from, the immediate response is, “Austin City Limits.” People in outlying towns would drive to major cities, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Atlanta, because they had seen us on the show. In the years when my broadcasts were current, I could have filled a 90 minute tape with the words, “I never heard of you before, but I saw you on Austin City Limits.” ACL opened the door into millions of homes for us and other regional bands. It is, as far as I know, the longest running and only hour-long pure music performance outlet with major national distribution. Some of my most memorable musical moments have been as a performer or in the audience at an Austin City Limits show.  I was always honored to be asked to play ACL and I am thrilled and grateful to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.”

“Ray Charles’ life force was to create and perform ever-lasting great music,” said Valerie Ervin, President, The Ray Charles Foundation. “Austin City Limits shares this philosophy, which is the reason it is one of the most enduring shows ever. Mr. Charles enjoyed appearing on the show twice and he would be touched with this honor.”

Los Lobos: “We could not be more honored to receive this award from the Austin City Limits folks. We have effectively grown up together and it’s remarkable what we have seen in the 40+ years that we have both been plowing our field, so to speak. We look forward to a wonderful time in Austin with our good friends at ACL and hopefully with some old friends all along for the ride as well.”

“Our 2018 Hall of Fame honorees clearly show how diverse our talent choices were even back in the early years of ACL,” says executive producer Terry Lickona, “as well as the priority we’ve always given to artists who stand out as originals in their genres.”

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson. Last year’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

The 5th Anniversary Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by AXS, Dell, Keller Williams, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly.

 

About the 2018 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:

Marcia Ball

photo by Scott Newton

In a remarkable career spanning 50 years, Marcia Ball—the official 2018 Texas State Musician— has earned worldwide fame and countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Her rollicking Texas boogies, swampy New Orleans ballads and groove-laden Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music lovers all over the world. Born in Orange, Texas and raised across the border in Vinton, Louisiana, Ball began piano lessons at age 5, falling under the spell of blues and soul music at 13 after witnessing a performance by New Orleans great Irma Thomas. Moving to Austin in 1970, Ball led progressive country band Freda and the Firedogs until 1974, when she began her solo career. Debuting on Austin City Limits during the first season in 1976, Ball has gone on to appear on the show three more times, and has released sixteen albums (including 1998’s Grammy-nominated Sing It! with fellow blues/soul enthusiast Tracy Nelson and inspiration Irma Thomas). Ball has won 10 Blues Music Awards, 10 Living Blues Awards, and is a five-time Grammy nominee. Her love of the road has led to gigs from roadhouses to the White House, and the living legend shows no signs of slowing down, releasing her seventeenth album in 2018, the critically-acclaimed Shine Bright (produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin).

Ray Charles

photo by Scott Newton

Singer, songwriter, pianist, producer and visionary, Ray Charles is one of the most important and influential musicians in American history. In five decades of recording, the music of the man nicknamed the Genius encompassed blues, jazz, R&B, country & western, pop and every permutation in between. His landmark 1954 single “I’ve Got a Woman” combined elements of gospel, jazz and blues to create what we now call soul. His list of hits is seemingly endless – “What’d I Say?,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Georgia On My Mind,” “Busted,” “Drown In My Own Tears,” “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned” and his immortal version of “America the Beautiful” are merely the tip of the iceberg. Albums like Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Genius Loves Company, True to Life and The Genius Sings the Blues are considered classics. With multiple Grammys, an Oscar-winning biopic (Ray, starring Jamie Foxx), millions of records sold and everyone from Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison to James Taylor, Billy Joel and Norah Jones citing him as an inspiration, Charles is one of the titans of American song. His 1980 appearance on Austin City Limits helped break the show’s talent roster wide open, and his 1984 episode has become equally lauded. Fourteen years after his death, Ray Charles remains a musical icon.

Los Lobos

photo by Scott Newton

One of America’s great bands, Los Lobos have carved out their own distinctive space in a career that’s spanned over 40 years. Formed by David Hidalgo, Louis Perez, Cesar Rosas and Conrad Lozano in the early seventies in East Los Angeles, the band started out playing rock & roll, before transitioning to traditional Mexican cumbia, norteña and corridos. The postpunk explosion in L.A. encouraged them to shift back to rock while retaining their Mexican-American heritage, giving them a unique sound in the American underground. With the addition of multi-instrumentalist/producer Steve Berlin, Los Lobos released a steady stream of LPs now considered classics, including 1985’s How Will the Wolf Survive, 1992’s Kiko and 2006’s The Town and the City, and scored a number one hit with its 1987 cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.” The band’s wide-ranging musical vision and dedication to expanding their craft has earned widespread acclaim, with over 20 albums, three Grammy Awards and tours with Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and U2. Los Lobos has brought catalog favorites like “Don’t Worry, Baby,” “One Time, One Night,” “La Pistola y El Corazon” and “Mas y Mas” to the ACL stage six times starting in Season 14, including five headlining slots and as part of the Season 24 Mexican Roots Music Celebration show.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. KLRU is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming.